Home Sales, Prices Leap In May

Real Estate

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY MONDAY BUSINESS EDITION MONDAY JUN 24, 2019

The month of May proved a boon for real estate agents in the region, according to the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee. Total home sales in the month jumped 11.2 percent in the two counties compared to May 2018. The leap in number of units sold happened at the same time inventory grew and median sales prices climbed.

“May is now showing the highest number of closed sales in each market in 2019,” says Amy Worth, Realtor Association president. “Given that mortgage rates will stay where they are, and overall prices will start stabilizing, we can expect moderate growth in this market over the next few months.”

The demand for new properties has been met by a number of communities coming online throughout the region. The total inventory for both counties jumped overall, but that was thanks to new increases in available properties in Sarasota. Single-family home inventory in Sarasota went up 7.1 percent in May and condominium unit inventory leapt 14.1 percent, year-over-year. Meanwhile, home inventory in Manatee dropped 6.9 percent and condo inventory there declined by 0.8 percent.

Jim Soda, a real estate agent with The Soda Group, says demand has been fueled recently by an exodus from high-tax states like New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. In addition to standard Midwest traffic, that’s made for a bountiful summer.

“We get a summer push every year,” he says. “Last year we didn’t get it until July but this year it has come in May and June.”

Michael Moulton, an agent with Michael Saunders and Company, says basically the inventory remains neutral, with less than six months of available inventory available in all major categories. But there’s a steady flow of Baby Boomer consumers who want to have a place in the area come fall.

Of course, a downside for sellers as new development comes online is that there are more homes with modern amenities satiating consumer demand. Soda says even homes built as recently as 2007 often need upgrades in order to compete. “They are great homes but are not up on today’s features and architecture," he says. "We see that especially in Lakewood Ranch.”

There, new developments like Polo Run have new homes filling the market with Coastal Contemporary architecture and in the same price range as some decade-old homes. ”Every seller thinks they have the best house, but when they are up against new construction with a new look, that’s really the competition,” Soda says.

Moulton says there’s definitely an interest in move-in ready homes. “People don’t want to go through a renovation, particular in a long-distance situation,” he says.

As for prices, those have climbed in both counties. In Manatee, single-family prices jumped to $319,955, up, 4.9 percent from last May, while condos leapt to $210,000, up 14.3 percent. In Sarasota, the median price for single-family went up 8.7 percent to $305,305, while condo prices jumped 1.4 percent to $238,000.

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